Not at Central last night around 8:30 p.m.

Michel Richard‘s Central probably needs no introduction at this point. The place was named one of the country’ top new restaurants last year by the New York Times. The newspaper also listed D.C. among its top destinations for this year by citing its restaurant scene. And guess whose smiling mug appeared in the shot next to the blurb?

Given all the buzz, I thought surely there would be some celebs seated around the back tables, away from the windows, close to the open kitchen. Yooo-hooo, Rihanna…I see you!

Boy was I wrong. I arrived at Central around 8:15, expecting to wedge myself into a spot at the bar. Turns out, there were open tables in nearly every corner, and no U.S. Weekly cover girls.

I asked a waiter what gave. He said that the restaurant was slammed right after the concert ended until about 7:45, but there were no celebrity sightings. City Paper Food Writer Tim Carman offers this explanation: Perhaps people were scared off by the location, too much effort to go all the way downtown…

Image by Express Monorail, Flickr Creative Commons